Expert Review Of Delayed Discharges Published

An expert review of delayed discharges – when older people are fit for discharge from hospital but are unable to go home due to lack of home support – has been published by the Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly.

The review was established in recognition of the need to identify focused actions that will ensure that older people who are fit for discharge from hospital are supported to return to their homes and communities as early as possible.

Minister Daly thanked Mr Graham Knowles, Chairperson of the University of Limerick Hospital Group for chairing the review and acknowledged the commitment of the working group members.

The review recognised that delayed discharges or transfers of care are caused by a multitude of factors and it made nine recommendations which include the development of a national policy to provide for a more consistent approach to recording delayed discharges, strengthening data collection, standardising definitions and ensuring consistent discharge guidelines.

Minister Daly said: "My immediate focus is on reducing delayed patient discharges and transfers of care as we come into winter through mobilising the additional resources being made available through the Winter Plan and ensuring that social care measures are effectively deployed to enable older people leave hospital and return to a more appropriate care setting, including their own home, as quickly as possible, with the supports they need."

The report underlines the importance of hospitals and communities working together to improve patient flow. This is in line with the overall direction of an integrated care approach, expanding community-based care to bring care closer to home, as outlined in Sláintecare. Minister Daly intends to analyse these matters further with the Department of Health and the HSE and outline a response to the report's recommendations over the coming weeks.

Welcoming the report, Minister for Health, Simon Harris said: "I recognise the need to focus on measures to target actions both in the immediate and longer term to ensure that older people are supported to leave hospital and return to their community. I have therefore, appointed Minister Daly to chair a working group to oversee progress on minimising the number of delayed discharges. Minister Daly will work with key agencies to reduce the number of delayed discharges as the health service enters this crucial phase of winter.

"The HSE has been allocated additional funding for the winter period for home care packages and other supports to minimise delays in people getting home from hospital, with a particular focus on those in the over 75 age group."


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